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					Mandatory languages — information for parents
Mandatory language studies in Years 6, 7 and 8 will provide a sound basis for students to continue to
study languages until the end of high school and beyond.

What are the benefits of studying a language at school?
Students gain social and cultural benefits through learning languages, which help them to participate in
and engage with an increasingly globalised world.
Learning a language also has a positive impact on a student's intellectual development. It provides
them with analytical and communication skills that enhance their learning in other areas.
There is academic evidence that learning a second language has benefits for young people in their first
language. For example, learning a second language improves students’ literacy skills because they
gain a better understanding of grammar and sentence construction.

In what years will students learn a language?
Most state schools are delivering key learning area (KLA) languages for Years 6, 7 and 8 students in
All state schools are required to deliver language studies to their Years 6, 7 and 8 students by January
While the focus is on Years 6, 7 and 8, language studies may also be offered in other year levels.
Schools can teach languages from Prep right through to Year 12. Following mandatory study in Years
6, 7 and 8, students will be encouraged to continue their language studies to Year 12. This will enable
students to gain greater proficiency and a deeper understanding of the language.

Which languages will be available?
The school principal, in collaboration with the school community and in response to student needs, will
determine the languages taught in Years 6, 7 and 8.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and Australian sign language (Auslan) will be
recognised as options for language studies, in addition to existing language offerings such as French,
German, Japanese and Chinese (Mandarin). This acknowledges that Indigenous languages and
Auslan are important options for some communities and are already being taught in some schools.
From 2011, the Queensland Syllabus for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages will be
available for implementation in state schools. The inclusion of Indigenous languages is in accordance
with the National Statement for Languages Education in Australian Schools.

Why is there a focus on Asian languages?
The study of Asian languages will support a greater cultural understanding and the ability to engage
with Queensland’s regional neighbours in their own language. In turn, this will provide cultural and
economic opportunities for individual students in Queensland.
In 2008-09, Queensland received $6.1 million under the National Asian Languages and Studies in
Schools Program (NALSSP) to increase and enhance the study of Asian languages in Queensland
state schools.

Australian Languages Curriculum mandatory language studies
It is anticipated that from 2014, schools will either implement an Australian languages curriculum or,
where no national curriculum is available, a Queensland languages curriculum.
As the Australian Curriculum is developed over the next few years the department will work with
Queensland schools to ensure a smooth transition with minimum disruption. This will provide young
people across Australia with an opportunity to learn languages through a consistent and world-class
Mandatory language studies in Years 6, 7 and 8
Education Queensland                                                       Version 2, 12 November 2010
If Australian Curriculum documents are not available for particular languages, schools will continue to
deliver a Queensland languages curriculum.

Exemptions from language studies
While language studies will become a priority for all our students in Years 6, 7 and 8, there may be
some circumstances where it is in the best interest of a student to have an alternative learning
Principals, in consultation with parents and teachers, will approve such exemptions and will be required
to record and regularly report on these students.
Students who may be exempt could include those who:

      need additional educational support, such as those with intellectual impairment
      seek an exemption because of cultural background, religion or political beliefs
      fulfil the requirements of a school-based language program in some other way.

Will schools still offer Intercultural Investigations (ICIS)?
Intercultural Investigations is a valuable precursor to language studies. In some schools it is currently
offered as an alternative to language studies.
Once a school starts mandatory language studies, they will no longer be able to offer Intercultural
Investigations as an alternative to KLA Languages curriculum for students in Years 6, 7 and 8.
However, the subject may be delivered to students in other year levels, and in addition to languages in
Years 6, 7 and 8.

Mandatory language studies in Years 6, 7 and 8
Education Queensland                                                        Version 2, 12 November 2010

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